5 September 2020 - 08:51
Swiss FM to visit Iran on Monday

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis will pay a visit to Iran on Monday to discuss bilateral and regional issues, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Iran (IMNA) - “On Monday, 6 September, Dr. Zarif will be hosting Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis and the accompanying delegation in Tehran. Bilateral relations, regional development, and international issues are among important topics that will be discussed by the two sides,” tweeted Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

During his two-day visit, Cassis will meet with several high-ranking Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to a report published by the international unit of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI swissinfo.ch.

The Swiss foreign minister’s visit comes at a time when tensions between Iran and the U.S. are on the rise since Washington resorted to a highly controversial mechanism built into a deal the U.S. quit more than two years ago. The mechanism – known as snapback- is designed to allow participants to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to restore all UN sanctions on Iran in case it didn’t uphold its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal.

On August 20, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to New York to “notify” the UN Security Council of Iran’s “significant non-performance” of its commitments under the deal as defined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The U.S. measure was met with firm opposition from almost all members of the Security Council. Thirteen of the 15-member UN body declared that the U.S. had no legal authority to trigger the snapback mechanism as it withdrew from the nuclear deal on May 8, 2018.

Switzerland currently holds “protecting power” mandates to facilitate contacts between Iran and the U.S., Canada, and Saudi Arabia. It has represented U.S. interests in Iran since 1980 and has acted as a go-between to deescalate tensions between Iran and the United States. Switzerland also played a major role in paving the way for prisoner swap deals between Tehran and Washington.

On September 2, Cassis discussed his upcoming visit to Iran with Pompeo via telephone.

“In view of my trip to Iran, we discussed the Swiss financial channel for humanitarian goods. [The] U.S. is a major partner: our relations are rich in tradition & highly diverse,” tweeted Cassis after he held a telephone conversation with his American counterpart.

Swissinfo.ch also reported that Cassis will be discussing a humanitarian aid channel that Switzerland launched in coordination with the U.S. to allow Swiss-based companies to send medicines and other essential goods to Iran without running afoul of U.S. sanctions on the country. The first transaction through the channel, officially known as the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), was done in July. The transaction involved exporting a cancer drug used to treat iron overload caused by repeated blood transfusions.

The Swiss foreign minister’s talks in Tehran will also include discussions on the latest developments surrounding the JCPOA, human rights, and political developments in West Asia, according to Swissinfo.ch.


News ID 442409


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